• School safetyKeeping Students Safe Is a Growth Industry Struggling to Fulfill Its Mission

    By John S. Carlson

    There is a lot of federal, state and local money spent to “harden” school buildings and campuses. It’s a booming business that by 2017 had become an estimated $2.7 billion industry with about $1.5 billion directed toward K-12 school safety. But based on my research on school safety practices, I believe that – in addition to doing more to regulate access to automatic weapons – what’s actually needed is more funding for mental health services in communities and schools to help heed and address warning signs before someone becomes violent.

  • CybersecurityPatching Legacy Software Vulnerabilities Rapidly in Mission-Critical Systems

    There are a vast number of diverse computing devices used to run the critical infrastructure our national security depends on – from transportation systems to electric grids to industrial equipment. While the amount of deployed vulnerable software is growing exponentially, the effective means of addressing known vulnerabilities at scale are limited. DARPA seeks to develop targeted software patches to rapidly repair legacy binaries in mission-critical systems, while assuring system functionality is not affected.

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  • Big DataConverting Big Data into Real-Time, Actionable Intelligence

    Social media, cameras, sensors and more generate huge amounts of data that can overwhelm analysts sifting through it all for meaningful, actionable information to provide decision-makers such as political leaders and field commanders responding to security threats. Researchers are working to lessen that burden by developing the science to gather insights from data in nearly real time.

  • Disaster responseRobotic Lifeguard EMILY Proves Itself in the Wake of Hurricane Dorian

    The responders who came to the rescue a day after Hurricane Dorian finished lashing Abaco Island in the Bahamas had a tool to get ashore, so they could provide medical care and supplies to stricken islanders. It was EMILY the robotic lifeguard—officially known as the Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard—a remote-controlled unmanned surface vehicle that has proven its mettle saving imperiled swimmers during natural disasters and humanitarian crises.

  • PerspectiveIn the Deepfake Era, Counterterrorism Is Harder

    For many U.S. intelligence officials, memories of that 9/11 terrorist attacks remain fresh, searing, and personal. Still hanging over the entrance to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center is a sign that reads, “Today is September 12, 2001.” It’s a daily reminder of the agency’s determination to prevent future attacks—but also of the horrifying costs when intelligence agencies adapt too slowly to emerging threats. For a decade after the Soviet Union’s collapse, the CIA and the FBI were mired in Cold War structures, priorities, processes, and cultures even as the danger of terrorism grew. The shock of 9/11 finally forced a reckoning—one that led to a string of counterterrorism successes, from foiled plots to the operation against Osama bin Laden. But now, nearly two decades later, America’s 17 intelligence agencies need to reinvent themselves once more, this time in response to an unprecedented number of breakthrough technologies that are transforming societies, politics, commerce, and the very nature of international conflict.

  • PerspectiveForget North Korea's Nukes: A Dying Regime and Collapse Is Far Scary

    Starvation, loose nukes, chaos, and even a Chinese intervention are all likely. What is left to say at this point when it comes to that “Hermit Kingdom” everyone loves to hate? Harry J. Kazianis writes for Yahoo News that North Korea, or also known as the so-called Democratic People’s Republic, is the ultimate Pandora’s Box and every president’s worst nightmare: A-bombs, chemical toxins, biological weapons and missiles to lob them all over the world—including now at the continental United States. And yet, while North Korea flexing its atomic muscles is certainly a big deal, the world is missing the real story: What happens if someday North Korea falls apart through a mass uprising, economic disaster, or war?

  • PerspectiveArmy Cyber Lobbies for Name Change This Year, as Information Warfare Grows in Importance

    Army Cyber Command has been lobbying for a name change to better reflect its growing mission, one in which its cyber professionals are increasingly focused on operating below the threshold of armed conflict every day. Lt. Gen. Stephen Fogarty, Army Cyber commander, says his staff is providing a proposal to change their command’s name to Army Information Warfare Command.

  • PerspectiveChina’s Worldwide Investment Project Is a Push for More Economic and Political Power

    Inspired by the ancient Silk Road, China is investing in a massive set of international development projects that are raising concerns about how the country is expanding its power around the world. Initially announced in 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the so-called “Belt and Road Initiative” has China planning to invest in economic development and transportation in more than 130 countries and 30 international organizations. Projects range across Asia, but also include places in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and South America.

  • Our picksFacial Recognition in Schools | Sinking Stadiums | Human Actors & Disinformation, and more

    ·  The U.S. Literally Doesn’t Know How Many ISIS Fighters Have Escaped in Syria

    ·  Bay Area Quake Caused Refineries to Flare; “What Happens If There’s a Big One?”

    ·  The Delicate Ethics of Using Facial Recognition in Schools

    ·  As Waters Rise, So Do Concerns for Sports Teams along Coast

    ·  Mississippi Audit: Agencies Not Complying with Cybersecurity Law

    ·  China Has Begun to Shape and Manage the U.S., Not the Other Way Around

    ·  Human Actors Are Changing the Spread of Disinformation

  • Nuclear weaponsU.S. Nuclear Weapons at Incirlik Air Base, in effect, “Erdogan’s hostages”: U.S. Official

    Trump announced his hasty decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria in a series of Tweets on Sunday, following a phone call with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – despite months of warnings from the Pentagon, the NSC, the U.S. intelligence community, and the Department of State. As a result, no plans were made to deal with the fifty or so tactical nuclear weapons kept under U.S. control at the Incirlik Air Base in south-central Turkey, which the United States shares with Turkey. One official told the New York Times that the nuclear bombs at the base were now effectively Erdogan’s hostages.

  • AsylumU.S. Not Alone in Restricting Asylum Eligibility

    By Ramon Taylor

    U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to dramatically curtail claims for asylum in the United States — cheered by the administration’s supporters and condemned by immigration rights advocates — is unprecedented on America’s southern border but not unique on the world stage. Europe in particular has imposed restrictive rules for asylum-seekers that predate this year’s flurry of activity in the United States.

  • CybersecurityInterdisciplinary Cyberengineering Team Wins $6M Grant to Combat Cyberattacks

    A team of Northern Arizona University researchers won a three-year, $6.3 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to develop nontraditional solutions to the increasing danger of cyberattacks and cyber warfare.

    The research will examine the practicality of outsmarting hackers by using new hardware technologies. The researchers say the impact of this work reaches all corners of modern life, helping to protect the computers that control factories, power plants, transportation systems, drones, personal medical devices and more.

  • CybersecurityHow to Protect Smart Machines from Smart Attacks

    Machines’ ability to learn by processing data gleaned from sensors underlies automated vehicles, medical devices and a host of other emerging technologies. But that learning ability leaves systems vulnerable to hackers in unexpected ways, researchers have found.

  • FireproofingWhole-House Fire Blanket Protects Buildings from Short Wildfires

    Wrapping a building in a fire-protective blanket is a viable way of protecting it against wildfires, finds the first study to scientifically assesses this method of defense. Existing blanket technology can protect an isolated building from a short wildfire attack, but technological advancements are needed for severe fire situations.

  • FloodsWith Coastal Waters Rising: First-Ever National Assessment of FEMA Buyouts

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been offering voluntary buyout programs to homeowners in flood-prone neighborhoods since the 1980s. And with increasingly powerful storms battering coastlines and flooding becoming more ubiquitous after heavy rains, these programs and the idea of managed coastal retreat have continued to garner more and more attention. A new study is the first to examine nationwide data on FEMA’s buyout program.

  • PerspectiveNew Tech Aims to Help Societies Learn to Spot Fake News

    Despite its relatively recent entrance into common parlance, “fake news” punctuated some of the most important elections of recent years, including 2016’s BREXIT referendum and U.S. presidential campaign. Thanks to social media, fake news can now be disseminated at breakneck pace to vast audiences that are often unable or unwilling to separate fact from fiction. Studies suggest that fake news spreads up to six times faster on social media than genuine stories, while false news stories are 70 percent more likely to be shared on Twitter. Preslav Nakov writes that all is not lost, though: “Fortunately, an emerging set of technologies are increasingly capable of identifying fake news for what it actually is, thereby laying the foundations for communities to do the same. The challenge is to ensure that these platforms get to where they are needed most.”

  • PerspectiveThe Presidential Candidates Are Ignoring One of the World’s Biggest Looming Threats

    Whoever sits in the Oval Office come January 2021, he or she will almost inevitably have to address pandemic disease as a foreign-policy issue. The well-being of Americans in today’s globalized world is inextricably linked to that of people around the globe, while the effects of pandemics are born disproportionately by the least powerful. The next U.S. president needs a proactive strategic initiative, based in global solidarity, to address today’s pandemics, tomorrow’s outbreaks, and the health impacts of climate change.

  • PerspectiveWhy the Guillotine May Be Less Cruel than Execution by Slow Poisoning

    Concerns about the drugs used for executions are being raised again after the federal government announced it will once again execute inmates convicted of capital crimes almost 16 years after the last execution was carried out. while the death penalty is the ultimate punishment meted out by the state, it is not meant to be torture. The guillotine remains a quick method of execution – it takes about half a second for the blade to drop and sever a prisoner’s head from his body. Although the guillotine may be the bloodiest of deaths, it does not cause the prolonged physical torment increasingly delivered by lethal injections. Should the U.S. consider using the guillotine to administer capital punishment?

  • Our picksChinese Snooping Tech | Counterintelligence & Disinformation | Anthrax Bombs, and more

    ·  Russia Moves to Fill Void Left by U.S. in Northern Syria

    ·  Chinese Snooping Tech Spreads to Nations Vulnerable to Abuse

    ·  Indiana Plant Was Asked to Make Anthrax Bombs

    ·  For All the Advances in Earthquake Science, Shaking Still Takes Us by Surprise

    ·  Anonymity of Cyber Threats Creates Legal Headaches for Insurance

    ·  U.S. Conducted Cyberattack on Iran Following Strike on Saudi Oil – Report

    ·  To Fight Disinformation, Rethink Counterintelligence

    ·  PG&E Shutdowns: Will They Happen Again? What’s Next?

  • Syria decision U.S. Pushing for Cease-fire After Turkey's Push into Northern Syria

    The United States says diplomatic efforts are on “high gear” to press for a cease-fire after Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria, as Washington tries to get the situation under control, according to a senior State Department official. Trump’s hasty decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria was met with a bipartisan chorus of criticism. “Abandoning this fight now and withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria would re-create the very conditions that we have worked hard to destroy and invite the resurgence of ISIS,” the Senate majority leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) said. “And such a withdrawal would also create a broader power vacuum in Syria that will be exploited by Iran and Russia, a catastrophic outcome for the United States’ strategic interests.”

  • Syria decision Western States Must Repatriate IS Fighters and Their Families Before More Escape Syrian Camps

    By Kerstin Carlson

    For more than a year, European powers have dallied over the question of what to do with the tens of thousands of Islamic State (IS) fighters and adherents captured following the fall of the so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq. Now the U.S. decision to withdraw troops and Turkey’s subsequent invasion of northern Syria on 9 October means the West has lost the luxury of inaction.

  • The Russia connectionEU to Take Action against Fake News and Foreign Electoral Interference

    Russian government-backed cyber aggression against democratic societies is heightening concerns in the West following a series of high-profile incidents. Russia’s electoral interference seriously threatens European democratic societies by promoting anti-EU, populist, far-right, ethnonationalist, xenophobic, and anti-American extremist forces.